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  • Author or Editor: Zhiyi Bao x
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Loropetalum chinense var. rubrum accessions in China have not been adequately characterized for their morphological traits. Such characterization would be helpful in the development of improved cultivars and in cultivar classification. In this study, the morphological traits of 23 accessions were evaluated in spring, summer, and autumn to determine their phenotypic diversity. Cluster analysis with average distance was performed for the main traits of leaf and flower using data processing system software. The morphological investigation indicated that the number of flowering accessions and the flower number of L. chinense var. rubrum in spring were more than those in autumn. Only one accession (no. 13) yielded several flowers in summer. Some accessions had the same or similar color of leaf or flower in spring and autumn. Two accessions had the same flower color in spring and autumn, whereas others showed slightly different colors in spring and autumn. The 23 entries were grouped into four clusters in spring and five clusters in autumn based on multivariate analysis of nine classification variables. Each cluster had some specific characteristics of its own. Generally, the cluster formed first because of the similarity in leaf color. The accessions with similar flower color formed subclusters within a cluster. These accessions are an important resource for the establishment of a core collection of L. chinense var. rubrum in the world. Several accessions with good qualities were selected and should be further tested for horticultural merit.

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Chinese flame tree (Koelreuteria bipinnata var. integrifoliola), a common ornamental tree in southern China, exhibits a variety of fruit colors among individual plants within the same cultivated field. In this study, 44 plants with different fruit colors were selected to investigate the impact of pigment composition on the coloration of fruit peels. The plants were divided into three groups based on the color phenotype of the fruit peel: red, pink, and green. The values of lightness (L*) were negatively correlated with redness (a*) and positively correlated with yellowness (b*). The correlations of chroma (C*) with the other color parameters differed among the three groups. In the pooled pink and red groups, C* was negatively correlated with both L* and b* and positively correlated with a*, whereas the opposite relationships were found in the green group. According to the pigment analysis, anthocyanins, chlorophylls, and carotenoids were detected in the fruit peels. Anthocyanins were found to be the main pigment responsible for the differences in fruit color among the various groups. The highest anthocyanin content of fruit peel was found in the red group, followed by the pink group; the lowest anthocyanin levels appeared in the green group. The major anthocyanin component in the fruit peels was identified as cyanidin 3-O-rutinoside. By classifying fruit peel color and determining pigment composition, this study provides a theoretical basis for further researching genetic control and regulation of anthocyanin biosynthesis genes on pigment accumulation and peel coloration of chinese flame tree.

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